Reading List

Reading list #21: Stories of Survival

This is Reading List #21, a selection of recent Holocaust-related news stories and links from around the internet.

WW2 podcast We Have Ways Of Making You Talk marked Holocaust Memorial Day at the end of January with an interview with Holocaust survivor Inge Auerbacher. She was born in 1934 and was held, in the last years of the war, at the notorious Theresienstadt concentration camp. Auerbacher has written many books about her experiences, and here tells the story of her early life, including her memories of Kristallnacht in 1938, when her mother’s quick thinking prevented her being injured or even killed by the shower of broken glass that exploded into their home as Nazi thugs threw bricks through the windows.

Holocaust survivor Walter Kammerling has died, aged 97 (BBC News). He was among the Kindertransport refugee children given passage to safety in Britain; his journey began in Vienna in 1939 and ended in Northern Ireland, where he spent some of the war working on a farm. He returned to Austria after the war’s end, but settled finally in England, where in his later years he became involved with Holocaust education, speaking often in schools about his experiences.

Literary scholar Dorian Stuber writes on his blog Eiger, Monch and Junfrau about Marie Jalowicz Simon’s memoir of surviving as a Jew in wartime Berlin, published in the US as Underground in Berlin, and in the UK as Gone to Ground. Jalowicz Simon, who lived until 1998, poured out her story to her son near the end of her life, after a lifetime of avoiding the subject. Her book is full of extraordinary and fascinating details, and I’m particularly interested to see Dorian pick up on, as I did when I read it, the way in which she reveals sex – and rape – to have been a currency for survival.

A French village has been gifted €2m in the will of a man who was hidden by villagers during the Second World War (Guardian). Eric Schwam, who died in December 2020 at the age of 90, was given shelter from Nazi persecution in the village of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, which has long held a reputation for helping persecuted people. Some 2,500 Jews are reported to have been taken in by the villagers during the war.

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Rosie Whitehouse spoke to BBC History Extra about her book exploring the story Holocaust survivors from across Europe who boarded a ship from an Italian beach in 1946, hoping to breach a Royal Navy blockade and reach Palestine. This fascinating podcast interview introduces the topic her her recent book, The People on the Beach, and goes some way toward revealing the complicated journeys and fates of people who, having survived the horrors of the Second World War, were left with great uncertainty hanging over their futures.

If you have seen a relevant article that could be included in next week’s reading list, why not get in touch via the contact page, or on Twitter, @holocaustreader?

Inclusion of articles on this list does not necessarily indicate endorsement of opinions expressed within them.

Images in this post are used under the principle of fair use for the purposes of review, education and study, and will be removed at the request of the copyright holder(s).

The header image shows Holocaust survivor Inge Auerbacher, pictured with a reproduction of the doll that she held on to throughout the Second World War. Image via Wikimedia.

3 comments on “Reading list #21: Stories of Survival

  1. Thank you so much for linking to my piece! (PLENTY more Holocaust content on the blog, if people are interested.) One quick correction, though: I’m a literary scholar, not a historian, no matter how much I might wish to be!

    Liked by 1 person

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